AUSTIN, Texas ― University of Texas System regents unanimously approved nearly $200 million Thursday for construction projects at the new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley near the Texas-Mexico border.
The South Texas campus and medical school projects were approved last year by the university system and this summer by the Texas Legislature. But the vote by the Board of Regents provides additional funding, allocating $142 million for campus construction and $54 million for the medical school construction from the multibillion-dollar Permanent University Fund.
As the measure passed, some in the room choked back tears and board members and those watching their meeting from a packed public gallery climbed to their feet to applaud.
The plan merged Texas-Pan American in Edinburg and Texas-Brownsville into what has been informally dubbed the University for the Americas in the Rio Grande Valley.
Of the funding allocated Thursday, $70 million will go toward a new science building on the campus in Edinburg, and another $72 million will be used for other capital improvements. Meanwhile, $54 million will be used for an academic building on the Brownsville Campus
The South Texas project has been hailed a major development for one of the poorest and fastest-growing regions in America. Supporters say the new university and its medical school are critically needed to serve local education and health care needs.
The new school is projected to enroll about 28,000 students, employ 7,000 people and generate $11 million in research expenditures.
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